Embraer Inks Deal on Phenom VLJ

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Jetbird, a startup on-demand air taxi service planning to fly initially from Zurich but with hopes to add 800 European locations, has inked a deal for 50 Embraer Phenom 100s. The $140 million contract also includes the option to purchase 50 additional aircraft over five years. The very light jet is still under development, but is expected to make first flight in mid-2007, enter service in 2008, and begin deliveries to Jetbird in 2009. Jetbird says using the Phenoms will allow it to fly frugally, charging less than 50 percent of the cheapest existing charter fees.

As reported in the July 19 AVwebBiz, Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (P&WC) successfully conducted the first run of its new PW617F engine on June 29. That engine is slated to be the powerplant on the Phenom; variants are being used on the Cessna Mustang and Eclipse 500 very light jets. The Phenom 100 is currently priced at $2.85 million.